Start your scope of work now! The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will soon be seeking applications for the next round of Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative grants. These grants support hands-on, engaging, interdisciplinary outdoor learning and career exploration opportunities that connect students with Maine’s amazing natural bounty. See a Newsroom story about 2023 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative Grants.
With massive expansions in eligibility, this funding can potentially be used to facilitate outdoor learning programs before, during, or after school; on weekends; during school breaks and/or over the summer. The Request for Applications (RFA) is slated to be published December 1, 2023.
Join Maine DOE staff for a series of open office hours in November to learn more about the application process and how your organization can maximize this opportunity for students. Make sure you sign up for these Open Office Hours sessions. After the RFA is published on the State website, the Maine DOE will not be able to field questions outside of the formal Procurement process.
Join the Maine DOE Open Office Hours to brainstorm how your school or organization can take advantage of this one-time federal funding.
- Tuesday, November 7, 2023 @ 3 pm
- Thursday, November 9, 2023 @ 3 pm
- Tuesday, November 14, 2023 @ 4 pm
- Wednesday, November 15, 2023 @ 10 am
The significant expansion of the eligibility rules beyond non-profits to include most local education providers, makes many schools in Maine eligible for this funding. For 2024, schools, private and nonprofit organizations, municipal Parks and Recreation Departments that are current members of the Maine Recreation and Park Association, and public libraries can apply. In this sense, “schools” include charter schools, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers or Regions, Education in Unorganized Territories (EUTs), approved private schools located in Maine, and school administrative Units (SAU). Applications will also be considered for schools and organizations who wish to use the funding to enhance or expand existing outdoor programming.
The Maine DOE expects more than 60 applications. In 2023 our non-profit partners reached 1,500+ students. In expanding the eligibility and length of the 2024 grant, we expect to reach 2,500+ students with meaningful outdoor educational experiences.
- Grant amounts range from $25,000 to $999,999 with a total of $2,000,000 available. Reference the RFA 202302033 Summer 2023 Forest Ecology for an example of expectations for the 2024 applications. Both a marketing and outreach plan for reaching students from disadvantaged backgrounds and an emphasis on Maine DOE’s Whole Student Framework will be required. Applications are due Friday, January 12, 2024. The RFA will be available here by Friday, December 1, 2023. All programing must be completed by September 1, 2024.
The Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative was created by Governor Mills in 2022 to connect Maine’s young people to the outdoors through engaging summer learning opportunities. The initiative has grown each year in scope and the number of students served. Click here to learn about the 2022 and 2023 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative programs. The initiative is supported through Federal Emergency Relief Funding.